Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hope and Conflict

In the novel Blazing Saddles, the ultra-sexed German blonde exclaimed in the dark, "It's true! It's true!" To which her equally dark bedmate replied, "I hate to disillusion you, but that's my elbow you're sucking on." So much for high hopes. In Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead, a somewhat less likeable character stated that, "Under the skin all men are the same, and I'm prepared to skin every one of them to prove the point!" So much for the loving acceptance of individual distinctions. At a time when our dreams of love and prosperity are rapidly degenerating into nightmares of ruin and blame, I think that a serious, yet good-natured, look into the underlying issues is long overdue.

Our dreams and aspirations derive from the need for comfort, safety and happiness. The fulfillment of these needs require that we have faith in our ability to overcome the obstacles that stand in our way and the conviction that we deserve the things we want. Conflict and despair are the inevitable results of any failure to grasp these most fundamental facts of reality. So even a spacehead such as myself can see that this investigation must take a look at our failures in this area. And since these failures constitute the feathers stuffed into the uncomfortable beds we're now forced to lie upon, it makes sense to do as that wise old rooster, Foghorn Leghorn, does with his feathers. He puts numbers on 'em!

Occasional errors in judgement are to be expected, but:
  1. We consistently confuse things wanted with things needed.
  2. We consistently misinterpret helpful criticism as scornful rejection.
  3. We consistently misconstrue the success of others as failures on own our part.
  4. We consistently disavow our limitations and proclaim talents we don't possess.
  5. We consistently demand more than we have earned.
  6. We consistently avoid growth in favor of limiting effort.
  7. We consistently choose blind safety over the challenge of the unknown.
  8. We consistently deny the beautiful in favor of the pretty.
  9. We consistently mistake lust for love.
  10. We consistently misunderstand sacred to mean beyond question.
  11. We consistently say 'we' when courage dictates that we say 'I.'
I could of course go on and on listing the failings of humanity, but we have churches and temples filled with people who've dedicated their lives to that endeavor. I personally think that the list I've provided is all the 'beat-down' we'll ever need, so let's move on to the more 'pleasant' search for ways to turn our failures into successes.

A careful look at the list above reveals the one thing they all have in common: The glaringly pig-headed refusal to use the awesome brains that the gods (or whatever) have granted us! Truly intelligent beings would recognize that in order to thrive they must first understand precisely what kind of life form they are, which in turn will provide a clear definition of their needs. Only on Bizarro World could 'intelligent' beings believe that they can survive without thought and actually get away with it.

Man, as a life form, is completely dependant on his ability to reason his way through the challenges of life. The quality of his reasoning determines the quality of his life. No one would expect a lion to prosper after pulling his own teeth and claws, so why are we surprised to find ourselves in trouble when we don't properly respect our ability to think? Okay, enough said on that. So what do we do to improve our reasoning skills? We create an environment that both nurtures and protects our minds.

That's why we evolved civilization in the first place, and The Great American Experiment was our attempt to finally get it right! The U.S. Constitution was explicitly written to define a government whose first and foremost responsibility is to guarantee our freedom of thought. While no power can force a person to use his mind, achieving enlightenment absolutely requires the freedom to do so. The true 'Contract With America' is the one where we agreed to stop forcing our will upon each other, and granted to government the sole right to make sure.

But our government is made up of those we elect to represent us, so it can never be any better than the choices we make. Which brings our inquiry around to us, once again. We must use our brains to find out what makes us happier and more thoughtful individuals, and to choose only those who will not stand in the way to represent us. In the end it's funny that, although I'm inclined to be a staunch individualist, I still think that it's so cool that we refer to our nation as the US of A. I truly hope that we can actualize the sentiment.

I want ice water.

1 comment:

  1. brilliant :)

    the same principles for choosing a government could apply to choosing the people we want in our lives.

    welcome back!